I just found out I got in off the waitlist at the Goldman School at Berkeley. Berkeley had been my top choice throughout my application process, but also a big reach/question mark as to whether I'd be able to go even if I got in. As of now, I'm deciding between Goldman and the McCourt School at Georgetown in DC.
I'm currently based in DC. I have to consider the cost of tuition, the cost of moving, and the cost of living (although I'm not sure if the Bay Area is that much worse than what I'm already dealing with in DC on that front, honestly...) vs. the stronger reputation of Berkeley, especially for my interest in climate/environmental policy, and my personal excitement about the possibility of moving back to the West Coast. (I'm from Oregon originally.) There's also a partner involved who's less keen to leave DC yet, so there's that factor as well...
I was offered $25,000/year from Georgetown (about 50% of tution and fees — Georgetown is so expensive, y'all!), which would put the total cost (of just tuition and fees) at about $59,000, which... is still a lot. I was (as expected) not offered any funding from Berkeley, although it sounds like GSI/Reader/etc positions are fairly available and could come with a big tuition discount?
Anyway, even setting funding aside, I'm still torn.
I guess my biggest question is -- how much is Goldman worth vs. McCourt? How does the stronger academic reputation of Goldman stack up against the wealth opportunities for policy/government work/internship experience I could find here in DC? Is Goldman worth moving and taking on the extra debt for? (And would the Berkeley debt be as much as I fear -- are those researcher/tutor positions as widely available and as much of a golden ticket as some make it sound?)
I've got until Wednesday to figure it all out -- Berkeley gave me until May 1 to decide, and while it sounds like I could get more time from them if I asked for it, I already extended my Georgetown deadline until May 1 and doubt they'd do it again. Ahh! Any tips?